Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour

Ep. #42 What to Do if you've Lost your Mojo

February 27, 2023 Jean Balfour Season 2 Episode 42
Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour
Ep. #42 What to Do if you've Lost your Mojo
Show Notes Transcript

After listening to a couple of people who said they had lost their Mojo at work, Jean shares what we can do if we have lost our va va voom at work. 
She does a deep dive into the role motivation plays in our energy at work - and shares Daniel Pink’s tools for how to get back to motivation. 

Related Podcast Episodes

Ep. #1. Finding your Purpose

Ep. #6. Overcoming Tiredness, Exhaustion and Burnout

Ep. #11. Negative Thinking and Self Doubt at Work

Ep. #15. Taking Charge of your Career

Drive - Daniel Pink

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Hi everyone and welcome to Making Sense. How's your motto at work at the moment? How motivated are you feeling? Where's your level of drive and energy for work? As you are listening, ask yourself on a scale of one to 10, where am I? 10 would be that you are on fire at work, you're really ready and raring to go. One would be that you would prefer not to get out of bed and go to work. Where are you at the moment and when would you like to be? In this episode, I'm gonna explore what mojo is, what helps us to have it at work, and what to do if we've lost. Before we dive into this, a couple of small asks. Firstly, if you would like to be kept up to date on podcast episodes, please sign up to our newsletter at it would also be great if you could rate and review the podcast Growing. The Impact of Any podcast is partly dependent on your reviews and ratings, and I really appreciate your. So back to mojo, how do you or I define it? For me, it's about the energy motivation drive that I have for my work. We all struggle with work at times, but if my mojo is good, I'm able to notice the struggle and I'm still able to get going. If my mojo is low, the struggle feels overwhelming, and I procrastinate and become really unproductive. I looked at definitions for Mojo, the Cambridge dictionary describes it as a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy. I think that when I'm in my mojo, when I'm fully there, I am full of energy, and so I'm also more successful and then in turn, I think is energizing for others because they feed off that energy and that drive. Let's go back to where you are now. Look at. desired number and your current. what do you desire for your mojo? And is there a gap between what you currently have? So for example, if you're someone who wants to feel highly motivated all of the time, how are you doing? And maybe for some of you, you are already matched, you're a, you wanna be a seven, you are already close, you're a six. Is there learning about how you can keep it there? And what can you do if it possibly drops in the future? My experience is that life can be very difficult without some level of our mojo. Not feeling great at work really affects all aspects of our lives, and so I think it's good to get to the bottom of it and see what might be happening. Now, mojo will be very personal. Some of us, and I count myself in this, have a big focus on our work. I'm writing the content for this podcast on a Sunday, but others of you prefer work to be a part of your life and not all of your life, but whatever role at work plays in your. Having energy for it when you are working is so connected to job satisfaction, and so wherever you are in relation to your work, you can really look at ways to make sure you've got a good alignment of what's right for you. Think now about a time when your mojo was really good. What was that like for you? How did you feel? How did you act? What was going. and what about a time when your mojo was low? Maybe that's now how do you feel? How did you feel? How did you act? What impact did it have on you or the people around you? This could be a journaling exercise, something to do either alone or with a friend or a colleague. Just to think about it. Think, when am I good? When am I really good and highly motivated at. As I've talked about before in the podcast, I've had periods where I have really struggled with work and periods where workers has felt pretty energizing and fulfilling. I'm in a good place with work at the moment, and I know that even in the hard moments if I've got a strong sense of what's driving me, I have the energy to pull through, but I do know that without having that connection between what my motivators are, what drives me, it has been hard at times for me to pull through. So what can you do if you're not where you want to be on your mojo? I'm gonna share a few ways for thinking about it, A few tools and techniques today. And these are a guide really for a personal inquiry that you can go on to see what might be causing it and what you can do about it. But before I go there, I want to just talk very briefly about burnout. Burnout is real. And most of us will experience it at some stage in our career, and it could be the cause of the loss of our mojo. And if you start thinking about what is happening for you at the moment, and if your mojo is low, it may be that you are overextended, you're very tired, maybe you are close to burnout, and maybe you could go through all of these exercises, but it may not. Up. So start by a personal inquiry about where am I in relation to my energy? And you can listen to my podcast episode six about burnout. And if you think, Hmm, I may have some problems with exhaustion and tiredness here, then start talking to someone and look for ways to get back to yourself to look after yourself. But if you do that and you think, yeah, that's not the cause of my lost mojo, then probably it's about doing an inquiry, turning inwards and trying to decode what's going on. I'm going to share with you a few overview thoughts, and then we're gonna do a deep dive into one particular way of looking at this. So first of all, start by writing down what's going. write down what are you feeling, what are the symptoms? What's your mood like? And begin to work out what's going on. You may want to do this at various stages during the day to see whether it's a piece of work you're doing. Writing things down will really help, and this isn't a positivity moment, this is a moment, to be honest, to really write down the thoughts that you are having at work and your relationship. and there are a number of things that could be happening. First of all, maybe you have a difficult relationship with a colleague or a manager. Maybe you've got a values clash with people around you, with your team, with the organization. You may have lost your motivation and we're gonna do a deep dive in that your confidence may have taken a hit and maybe you're struggling there. There may be external factors such as the an organizational change that's impacting your mood. Maybe you've got too much going on at home and you need the bandwidth for what's happening at home, and you can't bring that to work. Maybe your workload is unsustainable. Many will recognize that maybe you're simply exhausted and need to take a break, but a few other things. Maybe you are bored and need something stretching. Maybe you are outside your natural preferences. Maybe, for example, you're an introvert and you're in an extroverted role or the other way around, and so, so many different things could be affecting you. So as you are doing your reflection, think of each of these relationships, values, motivation, confidence, home, workload, energy, role fit, and so on, and anything else of course that could be going on. The more you inquire into the situation, the more possible it is that you'll be able to find a way. Now as you've done this and written it down, you may already see some patterns. I'd like to also share with you, a tool that I use with clients a lot that I found really helpful and which you could use to help you further. And for this, I'm gonna use Daniel Pink's very practical work on motivation to help us. In his great book Drive and in his Ted Talk linked to this, Daniel Pink re-looked at Motivation at work and he came up with some surprising findings. I'm only gonna focus here on the practical aspects of this, but I've put links in the show notes to his book and to the link to his TED Talk. He also has fantastic materials on his. He started by looking at the idea of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, so stay with me. It's not as complicated as it sound. Extrinsic motivation are things outside of ourselves, and they might be pay bonuses, performance ratings, or it could be things like a fear of failure or a drive to do something to prove something to somebody. And as Daniel Pink describes them, these are a bit carrot and stick. So they're either going to encourage us or we are going to be, uh, hit with the stick if we don't do them. If you do well, you get more pay. If you don't do so well, you get less pay. But there's a problem with extrinsic motivation that's really come up very system. research and that is that there isn't a long-term indication of us being motivated from these types. Of motivators that, for example, when you receive a good bonus, you might be okay and really, you know, boiled up for a couple of weeks. But actually it's quite short lived. And if the rest of our job isn't motivating us, if we are not feeling fulfillment at work, then actually the bonus is really only a small part of what's going on for motivating. So whilst they have a low level of importance, I believe there's just one thing to check here, and that's what we might call the hygiene factors. So if you are in a role where you believe that you are earning less than other people, you are underpaid, for example, this will have a big impact. Or if you are feeling penalized for things, un unfair. That's an external motivator that will or de motivator that will be having a big impact. But outside of that, it has a very small impact on our motivation at work. It's intrinsic motivation. That's the real deal, and we're going to look at that now. So intrinsic motivation is internal. It's the internal drive to do things for their own sake. Daniel Pink says it's the drive to do things because they matter to us, to me as a person. And it's things like autonomy, purpose, passion, a sense of belonging, having curiosity. learning mastery, getting good at things, having meaning in our work and having fun. And in his research he identified that there were three of these that played a significantly important role. And these three are autonomy, mastery, and. And I'm gonna look at each of these, and as I look at them, I encourage you to think about where am I on each of these and how might that be affecting my mojo at work? Let's start with mastery. Mastery is the urge to get better at things or learning a new skill or developing a new area of. If you are struggling in your role at the moment, maybe you are bored or maybe just not stretched enough, not having enough challenge and stimulation. I've coached people in the past who were really struggling with motivation and we began to look at it, and then something happened. Either they got a massive project or a big promotion, and each of these things would come along with more work, longer hours, more perceived external stress. But they were really happy because suddenly they were growing. They were back in that need to be learning again. back in that need to be stretching themselves. So how about you? How much are you outside of your comfort zone at the moment? Or have you done everything in your role a number of times and maybe you've lost a bit of kind of energy or desire to do it? And how important is mastery to you? Because each of these will be personal. For some of us, mastery is really important for others of us, it's not so important. So you could use our scale again. One to 10, what would you like your mastery number to be and where is it now? If you love learning, it might be nine. If you are comfortable with small growth changes, it might be a five or a six. How close are you to your number and maybe what can you do to bridge that? If you are not feeling that you are learning enough at work and there may be not opportunities for you to do more learning, like taking on new projects or learning a new area of the business, then look for something outside of work to motivate you. Learn a new language is the common one. One of the things that I did was I did a master's degree and I remember when I started my master's, I thought I was crazy. I was really fully booked with clients and yet, once I started that extra stimulation and stretch gave me energy that I had no idea I had, I loved it. it re-energized me, and I really came back with a kind of Vva VM for. So how to think about, am I learning enough? Am I growing enough? Am I being stretched enough? The second I'm gonna look at is autonomy. This is the desire to direct your own work or to have areas of work for which you're accountable. This is. for example, do you like to be independent? Do you like to self-direct your work, or do you prefer to have some direction and structure set by others? And this is very personal. Some people like a lot of structure and a lot of external things telling them how to be they. They don't want the autonomy. Some people love autonomy and want to be really independent. For all of us. We want to get this level right. We want to be in a role doing work that gives us the right level of autonomy. And even for people who don't want much autonomy, there will be some areas that you want autonomy in. And I had a sweet example. I once worked with a call center and we were talking with call center staff about autonomy. We were using this model actually and. they were saying, well, you know, we understand that working in a call center, there's actually very little perceived autonomy. We are working to scripts, we're on timers, and we need to be doing things in a very structured process driven way. and we accept that we took the job on in a call center. We know that's the deal, but there is an area we would like sim autonomy, and that is that we would like the ability to choose our shifts. We would like to be able to say for each of us individually what time of the day we work, and we would like to be able to work that out together to make sure we cover all the. And the leadership said, great, no problem. Over to you. So they got the autonomy that they needed. It was, uh, in a contained area, but it was all they needed and they were happy with it. what about you then? How much is autonomy important for you? Good for you, and if you like a lot of it, maybe you need to be thinking about your role. I mean, entrepreneurial life is maybe perceived as the ultimate autonomous role, but you can have many roles in organizations where you have a lot of autonomy, where you may be leading on a project or you may be working in an area of the business where there's a lot of opportunities for creativity. So if you are employed and autonomy is important for you, look at your job and think about how you could go about having that autonomy. And then if you. Don't need so much autonomy and maybe you've got too much. That could also be a problem. I spoke to somebody recently who really likes a lot of structure in their life and they've got too much autonomy at the moment, and they really would like. A bit more structure around them so you can go back to our scaling again, you can think about where are you on a one to 10, how much do you want, and how much do you have at the moment? And then think about what could you do to get more alignment? Have a conversation with your line manager. To either get more structure or have more opportunity for autonomy if it's not possible at work, and you like a lot of autonomy, look for ways of getting some autonomy outside of work, working on things that are gonna give you that sense of freedom and independent self-directed working. The final of these three is, This is the desire to do something that has meaning and knowing the link between our role and the purpose of our team and our organization. I did a, a podcast on purpose. It was the number one podcast in this series you can go back and have a listen to that. So I'm not gonna. Talk length about it here, but I do wanna make one connection to this, and this is about your own individual purpose and knowing when you are in your lane, but also how you know whether your purpose is connected to your team's purpose and seeing a good alignment there for you. and if you can't see that connection, that's a good topic for a team meeting. You know, what's our purpose and how do we all contribute to that? There's a real opportunity to think about how that relates to what you are doing and what other people are doing and what the team is doing. And again, talk to your manager about it and see what you can do if you are a manager. Have a look at your team's alignment with purpose and maybe spend a bit of time thinking about it. Purpose is so fundamental to our wellbeing, and without it, we really can lose our mojo at work. So each of these is a great way of looking at. How motivated am I? Where is my motor at work? And to think about are there ways that I can get on track or are there things that I fundamentally need in my role? So at any point I need to do a self audit and make sure that I'm on track for this. And as you go into this inquiry, I really encourage you to connect with yourself and be really honest with yourself about what's working and what you need at work, because it is possible to get back on track and life and work is not enjoyable if we are not in our lane, if we are not in our mojo. And it's really worth doing the work and seeing if we can get back.